Western European News Digest
Attali: Financial Tsunami Advances on France
Paris, Sept. 18 (EIRNS)Jacques Attali, the economist and former gray eminence of the Mitterrand presidency, said, on a talk show, Le Figaro/Orange, that the "tsunami continues to advance, and nothing is less sure than that it is not going to come to our shore, contrary to what many think." Attali said the present crisis is "ruled by the same mechanisms as in 1929: People were allowed to become indebted in fictitious values." He added that the coming victims, beyond the banks, the insurance companies, and the real estate sector, will be local governments, including in France, "where 1/3 of the debts are subprime."
Continuing on the parallel to the 1929 crisis, Attali warned of three potential dangers: "the denunciation of plots, such as the stigmatization of the Jews, prior to the war; a great inflation to make the debts disappear; and military tensions to force people to accept more austerity and taxes."
Soros Stages Demonstration Against Italy
Sept. 17 (EIRNS)George Soros's Open Society Institute (OSI) activists, led by Soros himself, staged a demonstration against the Italian government yesterday in Brussels, at an EU-sponsored conference on continental integration. The pretext is a recent bill introduced by the Italian government, that mandates that fingerprints be taken for any personindependent of nationality or racewho cannot produce an ID document. ID documents are mandatory in all European countries. Soros's statements were supported by EU Commission chairman José Manuel Barroso. However, EU Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot attacked Soros: "Soros either ignores the facts, or is in bad faith." Barrot said that the Italian law "is in line with European laws."
OSI activists protested with hisses and boos, against an Italian government official, Eugenia Roccella, when she began to speak. The activists wore T-shirts with "against ethnic profiling" slogans. Soros then took the microphone to say: "I am deeply worried because of the ethnic profiling in Italy. I fear that this could become a standard in Europe. Those measures should be illegal."
New Bretton Woods: Others Join Tremonti Call
Sept. 19 (EIRNS)Italian Economics Minister Giulio Tremonti brought the fight for a new Bretton Woods (NBW) to the national industrialists association yesterday. At a conference of Confindustria in Rome, Tremonti repeated everything he had said about the crisis and the NBW in an interview with the Milan daily Corriere della Sera, published the same day, adding an attack against economists. The head of the association, Emma Marcegaglia, painted a gloomy economic picture, saying Italy is already in a recession. She supported Tremonti's idea to have the European Investment Bank (EIB) finance large infrastructure projects.
That same day, the financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore (owned by the Industrialists Association) ran an article entitled "We Need a New Bretton Woods To Change Rules," written by an economist at the neoliberal Bocconi university in Milan, Donato Masciandaro.ce."
On Sept. 17, the Swiss daily Corriere del Ticino ran an article by economics commentator Alfonso Tuor, calling for "a new Bretton Woods to establish the world economic, financial and commercial rules."
ATTAC Shifts, Endorses Keynes' Version of NBW
Sept. 18 (EIRNS)Directly contrary to Lyndon LaRouche's proposed New Bretton Woods system, three economists of the "scientific" council of the left-wing group ATTAC, Cossart, Harribey and Plihon, published an opinion column in Le Monde, which rejects the Bretton Woods system founded by Franklin D. Roosevelt, which was based on American System principles, including the development of the formerly colonial countries; instead it endorses the British System proposal made in 1944 by John Maynard Keynes, which was fortunately rejected at the Bretton Woods conference. In their column, after uttering their habitual critique of the speculative financial system, they concluded with this: Hence, a new Bretton Woods is indispensable. But not any New Bretton Woods, but Keynes' main proposal, which was formulated in 1944, for a world currency and compensation union.
This one-world-currency line is a radical shift from ATTAC's May 19, 2008, call for a New Bretton Woods, which specified that the strengthening of national regulation was the foundation for any reform of the international monetary system.